Don’t Detroit my Ferndale? Or should you? ICONIC Real Estate Opinion
ICONIC Real Estate represented Peas and Carrots Hospitality Group’s purchase of the iconic 9 Mile and Woodward location, formerly home to Como’s, in Ferndale, Michigan
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Don’t Detroit my Ferndale? Or should you?

Don’t Detroit my Ferndale? Or should you?

A few weeks back, ICONIC Real Estate represented Peas and Carrots Hospitality Group’s purchase of the iconic 9 Mile and Woodward location. This location is formerly home to Como’s, a Ferndale institution. ICONIC tracked this site for several years, when the original operation was hit with violations about the operation. Those of us with watching eyes on the hospitality and real estate industry always take note of these clues. This is in order to formulate the right approach to grab locations that score excellent marks on our PAVE analysis. (Position, Access, Visibility and Energy.)

The former Como's restaurant in Ferndale, Michigan. A grey, brick building featuring a red awning with white text that says Como's.

We were able to come together with the family that was shuttering their long-time business to provide a solution. This is thanks to our Real Estate Associate, Jeff Hillman.

A grey, stone sign that says Downtown Ferndale along the Woodward and 9 Mile intersectionHere’s something you may not know. When the news first broke in January that Como’s was asking $4M for the site, is was already under contract. The news reports were not only false, but behind the proverbial eight ball.

Shortly after Zack Sklar and his team announced their acquisition, I saw a comment that related back to a sign that was posted in Ferndale this past spring that read “Don’t Royal Oak my Ferndale.” The new comment was don’t “Birmingham my Ferndale.” Presumably referencing Peas and Carrots other establishments in the Northern suburb.

There is something terribly unsettling for me when I see these lines across a sign in a city. I have no doubt that Peas and Carrots will make a long-standing impression on Ferndale, in an extremely positive way. They are a high-level operator, with many operations around the state and region. If anything, they are coming to Ferndale to help raise the bar in terms of execution.

Additionally, they are acknowledging what a thriving community and opportunity lies within the city of Ferndale for food and beverage operators. The insinuation that operators who are successful wouldn’t be welcome or wouldn’t make good choices about offerings is naïve at best.

The side of the Otus Supply restaurant featuring lots of windows and greenery in Ferndale, Michigan

The front of the Otus Supply restaurant that faces 9 Mile Road in Ferndale, Michigan featuring grey brick and a green mural that reads Otus Supply

The Ferndale Scene

Ferndale, in my opinion, boasts one of the best food and beverage scenes in metro Detroit. Last weekend my wife and friends went to Otus Supply. A week ago I stopped in for some oysters at Voyager. These are two of my favorite spots. Ferndale has a unique identity and is host to many great spots such as Toast, The Oakland and The Red Hook to name but a few, and together they begin to form the DNA that becomes Ferndale.

Staunch supporters of Ferndale may believe that they don’t want to lose the identity that they have carved out of metro Detroit over the last several decades. An identity that supports the arts, small business and a sense of community they should be proud of. But, the idea that an outsider isn’t welcome is just absurd. Cross pollination is good for nature and it’s great for cities. If one of my favorite restaurant operators opens in an area that I’m not as familiar with, it’s usually a sign I need to go check it out, sooner rather than later. Typically, when I do, I’m exposed to a lot more than what I came for. New people, new beauty and new business, this is what works. Let me be clear, I love each area of metro Detroit for different reasons. They all carry unique nuances that distinguish them from the rest.

The Voyager restaurant in Ferndale Michigan, featuring blue and white brick and a garage door feature that opens to the patio

ICONIC Opinion

With our offices downtown and my personal business firmly rooted in the food and beverage sector of commercial real estate, I love seeing the cross pollination happen. For the record, Ferndale is “doing Detroit” and it’s doing an awesome job. Red Hook coffee has a spot in West Village, and Voyager’s Eli Boyer recently opened Lovers Only in Capital Park. And, while Peas and Carrots may be new to Ferndale, they’ve been operating a Gus’s Fried Chicken on Third street. In fact, they are about to celebrate their first full year in business. So please, continue to “Insert suburban area our Detroit.”

If you’re interested in learning more about opportunities in these neighborhoods, contact us. If we’re not careful we might start filling in the gaps and creating boroughs like New York.